DRC-Sudan: Fifty feared dead in rebel attack
|Publisher||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)|
|Publication Date||7 January 2009|
|Cite as||Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), DRC-Sudan: Fifty feared dead in rebel attack, 7 January 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/49670b921a.html [accessed 23 December 2014]|
JUBA, 7 January 2009 (IRIN) - Fifty people were feared to have been killed and at least nine abducted in attacks on villages in southwest Sudan, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo (in DRC), locals said.
Officials in the Southern Sudanese capital of Juba said the men who conducted the 5 January attack were suspected remnants of the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
"We received reports from the state that they abducted seven men and two women," Bashir Bhandi, head of the Southern Sudanese Parliamentary Committee on Communication, told IRIN on 6 January.
The rebels, according to the UN, are estimated to have killed hundreds of people in northeastern DRC since December.
The surge in violence follows a Ugandan-led offensive, with Southern Sudan and DRC forces, against the rebel group after its reclusive leader Joseph Kony failed once again to sign a Sudan-mediated peace agreement in early December.
Analysts warn that ongoing attacks on the LRA, which has been showing signs of demise, could rejuvenate the rebel group and lead to a resurgence in fighting.
So far, some 7,300 people in southwest Sudan have been displaced and their host families have received 20 tonnes of food rations from the UN World Food Programme, according to the UN News Center.
"The number of people they killed or kidnapped has gone above 50," Bhandi told IRIN. "They loot and kill. They take them to the forest. None of the people they have taken to the forest has been found alive. They kill them."
"I am told that our military is not ready to face the LRA and the citizens are digging up guns they kept in the ground for their own defence," Jimmy Wongo, an MP from the area said. "How the LRA can manage to abduct seven men and two women yesterday I don't understand."
The Southern Sudan Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Martin Ellia Lomuro, said officials had done everything to try to halt the killings. "We did not only close our borders, we supported also the regional initiative to control the LRA," Lomuro.
"What is happening in Western Equatoria is very strange," he added. "It is a serious matter of concern to both the Legislative Assembly and the executive."
In the DRC, the LRA was blamed for killing seven people in Napopo village on 4 January, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), citing local sources. Several people were reported to have been abducted.
OCHA also reported that LRA groups had mounted raids in different locations in north-east DRC in the first days of January.
Also in north-east DRC, a team from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reached the town of Faradje, which the LRA attacked on 25 and 26 December, killing some 70 people and prompting 40,000 to flee.
"Our mission found Faradje pillaged and destroyed by fire," UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva.
More than 800 houses, three schools, government buildings and health centres had been burned, with most families losing their annual harvest in the fire, according to UNHCR.
Key needs included food, shelter and medicine, Redmond said. "However, the area remains highly volatile and insecurity is a key obstacle for access by us and other agencies."
DRC-UGANDA: Deadly LRA attacks prompt exodus in north-eastern DRC
DRC-UGANDA: Anti-LRA offensive could backfire - activists